The Content Leader By Andrea Leigh Capuyan
Overcoming the Struggle to Become a Content Leader
How do leadership decisions reflect a growth mindset anchored by contentment? How do I model satisfaction and a desire for abundance as a leader? As a faithful steward, my leadership journey constantly explores trust, submission, and freedom.
To model and lead others well, this examination is first personal. What is happening within me? What are the thoughts and feelings that are driving my actions? Am I allowing the Holy Spirit to bring revelation and insight? Am I relying on God to change me from the inside out? Without a daily practice of reflection and confession, I remain blind to my captivity and resistance.
A mindset focused on contentment and abundance differs from a mind hijacked by deprivation and greed. Stories of individuals trapped by hoarding behaviors might be fascinating. For those living it – it is heartbreaking. I’ve sat in a home with an overflowing refrigerator – so full that food was rotting and, simultaneously, listening to conversations riddled with the fear that there is never enough. And I left that experience challenged by my internal contradictions.
Some parts of me are fearful and insecure when confronted with my weaknesses or needs, and often, I would instead deflect, avoid, or attack rather than be honest. I would rather “stuff my fridge” than seek help. I hate it when God invades everyday life with teachable moments, don’t you?!?
Experiences that leave us vulnerable, exposed, or with unmet needs can create mistrust. We doubt that anyone, even God, will take care of us or offer us anything good. We believe we are being punished. There is a misconception about what we have in life – and lack and scarcity dominate our thoughts. We are unable to live with intention, purpose, or presence. We cannot offer others our love and attention because we are blind to our provision.
This isn’t about self-sacrifice. If we are overwhelmed by emptiness, we can become paralyzed and fail to steward our lives. We drop our hands, letting everything entrusted to our care fall to the floor, and then say, “I have nothing.” To release a fixation on control doesn’t mean we adopt a posture of fatalism. That isn’t a faithful steward, and this type of paralysis will cause a leader to fail others and their work. God has not made us to experience nothingness. That is not contentment. That is deprivation. It is death.
We are meant to experience abundance and growth. When we are dominated by fear, then we are tempted to insulate or numb our fear with stuff. It can be masked by materialism or domination. Independence and self-reliance are often rooted in a belief that no one will come to my rescue or aid. I am alone. This can lead to decisions of selfishness and self-protection. We hoard, unable to share or care for others. Or we are deceived because we think our stuff or material gifts can replace a relationship with others. We attach ourselves to inanimate objects rather than to human beings. Security and belonging are experienced in intimacy – sharing ourselves with others.
Our needs are more than physical or material – food, clothing, and shelter. Our fundamental needs are belonging, protection, and nurturing relationships. Our essential needs are spiritual, emotional, and communal. Greed can lead us to believe that all we accumulate will lessen our pain and satisfy our needs. Using materialism as a substitute for connection and care only exacerbates emptiness and can lead us to set up idols and false dependencies with others. This is not abundance. In reality, it is isolation. It is a prison.
It is fascinating that God provokes us by challenging our response to our daily needs. When more than a day’s supply of manna was gathered, it spoiled. The Lord’s prayer invites us to seek God for daily provision. We remain conscious and aware of our dependency.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
Every day, we face our limitations and bring our needs before God. Every day, we are reminded there is provision. And this provision is meant to meet more than our physical needs or demands. Jesus tells us He is our manna – the bread of life. He will be unending provision and nourishment for us. Our longings and desires will be met. Nothing is withheld. We are not deprived. There is rest. Contentment. Enough. Our needs aren’t minimized. They don’t disappear. We can see them for what they are. Our needs invite us to deeper relationships with God and others. Our needs expose our frailty and fear, and God assures us that He’s got us.
This awareness and assurance allow us to be faithful stewards and share who we are and what we have with others because we operate from humble sufficiency. It frees us to be trustworthy and authentic leaders and to trust others in our lives.
It is profound that God daily challenges us with this struggle between contentment and deprivation, need and greed. This isn’t a mountain He wants us to conquer. It is a constant exercise and regular practice. That is comforting. My continual surrender to God’s transforming work of awareness and integration is essential if I wish to be a good leader. By His guidance, I learn how my demands and discontentment contaminate and enslave me and others. And by His power, I can experience something new. I can become more of who He created me to be. I can find an everlasting provision that gives me more than enough.
Andrea Leigh Capuyan serves on the Center for Steward Leader Studies board and is executive director for the LPC – a local ministry helping individuals impacted by unintended pregnancy, reproductive loss, and post-abortion recovery. Andrea also provides coaching and consultation, assisting others in experiencing abundance as a leader. She is a Credentialed Christian Nonprofit Leader (CCNL) with the Christian Leadership Alliance. She holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership from York University.
What is Christian Leadership Alliance?
Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.